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Preview: Batman #99

Batman #99

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Jorge Jimenez
In Shops: Sep 23, 2020
SRP: $3.99

“The Joker War” part five of six! Things have changed, as Batman realizes he can’t fight this war alone. He’s going to need help. Before he faces down The Joker, he must call up his trusty partner Dick Grayson! But can Dick reclaim his lost memories in time to join the battle?

Batman #99

The Department of Truth Gets a Declan Shalvey Variant

The Department of Truth is coming! Image Comics has revealed a 1:10 Incentive Variant by Declan Shalvey for the first issue. The series is by writer James Tynion IV and breakout artist Martin Simmonds.

The Department of Truth follows Cole Turner, a man who has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn’t prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true. From the JFK Assassination, to Flat Earth Theory, to Reptilian Shapeshifters—one organization has been covering them up for generations. What is the deep, dark secret behind the Department of Truth?

The final order cuttoff is September 7 and the comic comes to store shelves on September 30.

The Department of Truth Declan Shalvey variant

Wynd #1 Gets a Third Printing

BOOM! Studios has announced that Wynd, the original series from award-winning superstars James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas, with letterer Aditya Bidikar, has sold out of the second printing of issue #1 at the distributor level!

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has announced Wynd #1 Third Printing, available on September 30, 2020 and featuring cover art by Dialynas.

Wynd introduces readers to a world where magical heritage is punishable by death, so a young boy named Wynd must keep his true identity – and pointy ears – a secret from everyone in Pipetown, even if it means he’ll never have the normal life he wants. But when his secret is threatened, Wynd is forced to leave his home behind to embark on a dangerous quest that will put him at the heart of a royal conspiracy beyond his imagination.

Print copies of Wynd #1 Third Printing will be available for sale on September 30, 2020.

Wynd #1 Third Printing

Get a Look at Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE #1

Written by JAMES TYNION IV, JOHN RIDLEY, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, and others
Art by GUILLEM MARCH, DAVID LAFUENTE, JAMES STOKOE, and others
Cover by BEN OLIVER
Card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW
ONE-SHOT | ON SALE 09/29/20
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES | NO ADS | FC | DC
CARD STOCK VARIANT COVER $6.99 US

Gotham City is a battleground as The Joker takes over the Wayne fortune and wages a street war against the Dark Knight and his allies! Enter the “war zone” with short stories featuring characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Luke Fox and see how they’re fighting back in a city under siege! Also, the brutal full debut of the mysterious new anti-hero known as Clownhunter!

BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE #1

The Department of Truth Gets a Variant Cover by Mirka Andolfo

The Department of Truth is coming! Image Comics has revealed a 1:50 Incentive Variant by Mirka Andolfo for the first issue. The series is by writer James Tynion IV and breakout artist Martin Simmonds.

The Department of Truth follows Cole Turner, a man who has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn’t prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true. From the JFK Assassination, to Flat Earth Theory, to Reptilian Shapeshifters—one organization has been covering them up for generations. What is the deep, dark secret behind the Department of Truth?

The final order cuttoff is September 7 and the comic comes to store shelves on September 30.

The Department of Truth Mirka Andolfo variant

Preview: Batman #98

Batman #98

Joker War” has been an interesting ride so far. Running through Batman and other related titles, the event has had the Joker steal Bruce Wayne’s fortune, toys, and company turning it all against Batman. Batman #98 is part four of the event and like previous chapters, it’s a bit stretched out and while good, doesn’t excite or deliver anything new.

Writer James Tynion IV delivers that moment we’ve seen so many times before in films, television, and other stories. Batman is tripping, attempting to get the Joker Toxin out of his system. He has his moment of reflection and discussion with his dead mentor. It’s his Rocky talking to Mickey moment and there’s even a close “dammit Rock” thrown in there. While Batman is out of it, Punchline and Harley Quinn battle things out in Ivy’s hiding space giving them another chance to square off.

Batman #98 is a fine part of the overall arc but on its own, it’s something we’ve seen over and over. All it’s missing is a montage with proper music while Batman gets back into a healthy status.

What makes Batman #98 not a total loss is the art by Jorge Jimenez. The art features an interesting juxtaposition between Batman’s trippy visuals versus the battle between Harley and Punchline. While one is the standard page layouts with your standard boxes, the other is a kinetic battle. Jimenez has the fight break the page with odd shapes and a nice mix of panel sizes. Jimenez is helped by the color of Tomeu Morey and the lettering of Clayton Cowles. The action scenes pop from the page and when Batman eventually clears his head, literally pops.

But Jimenez and the team make sure to give Bruce’s struggle its moments too. The emotion delivered in panels by Bruce and Alfred really sell the scenes. The delivery takes a rather trope-ish cliche and gives us something more visually interesting. It’s the emotional catharsis we’ve been waiting for and expecting since Tynion took over his run.

“Joker War” as a whole hasn’t been as exciting as one would hope. The event falls upon concepts we’ve seen so many times before. It’s an entertaining read though more in a summer popcorn way. It feels like it’s a setup for what’s coming next for Bruce as he will deal with the fallout from the event. Much like the previous arc, “Joker War” doesn’t feel so much as a story unto itself as opposed to the setup of what comes next, more focused on the next arc instead of itself. Much like Batman #98, the event as a whole feels like the pivot to what comes next.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Jorge Jimenez
Color: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman #98

Batman #98

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Jorge Jimenez (CA) Tony S. Daniel
In Shops: Sep 01, 2020
SRP: $3.99

“The Joker War” part four of six! Batman is at his most vulnerable following a massive dose of an experimental new Joker toxin. With the Dark Knight haunted by demons and visions, it’s up to Harley Quinn to protect him while he recovers-because Punchline is on her way!

Batman #98

Advance Review: The Department of Truth #1

The Department of Truth #1

The Department of Truth #1 opens on November 22, 1963, the fateful day in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated with Martin Simmonds’ artwork evoking fuzzy video coverage like shots of cryptids or a second shooter on that grassy knoll. As the comic progresses, Simmonds’ visuals and James Tynion IV’s larger premise for the series come into sharper focus, but in the end, there are still more questions than answers. And, honestly, that’s what you want out of an ongoing monthly comic, especially one driven by conspiracies within conspiracies within, well, conspiracies.

A key reason that I enjoyed The Department of Truth #1 was Martin Simmonds’ art. He marries grid layouts with the fully painted art style of Duncan Fegredo and Paul Johnson’s work in the early 1990s or even the panache of David Mack and Bill Sienkiewicz. However, it’s not just pretty pictures or cool compositions but has motion and storytelling weight too. Simmonds can also be a vicious caricaturist, like in his drawing of the Flat Earth Society members that match the dry, snarky narration that Tynion writes for the protagonist, Cole.

You can tell he doesn’t have a high opinion of most of these characters, and it drives his line art and color palette to new heights like a blood red composition of a couple of rich, conspiracy-mongering assholes through Cole’s shades. Everything is more memorable from the perspective of sunglasses, and that goes for both film and comics. Martin Simmonds’ layout choices match the story’s pace with lots of small, skinny panels during interrogation sequences to big splashes for reveals or when he and Tynion want to touch on a big picture theme. I enjoyed Martin Simmonds’ work on the Punks Not Dead comics for IDW as well as his fill-in issue of Immortal Hulk, but Department of Truth is a true level up for him as a cartoonist with him crossing into Sienkiewicz-esque territory with his depiction of corruption, deceit, and maybe once or twice, truth.

Unlike the 1990s when conspiracy theories seemed fun and quirky (Think X-Files.), they have become scarier thanks to folks like QAnon, who bundle their outlandishness and useless misdirection with plenty of white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Tynion is aware of that and bakes in conspiracy’s current right-wing nature while also making references to its let’s say, cuddlier, past starting with the JFK assassination. This conflict and need for finding a happy medium feeds into the book’s underlying theme and also makes it seem more relevant with characters popping up that you might Google to see if they’re not some obscure far-right commentator on one of those websites or premium cable news channels that make Fox almost seem (Emphasis on the almost) fair and balanced. While the plot begins to unfold and the premise is established, James Tynion and Martin Simmonds also delve into the mindset of the conspiracy theorist, and why it’s so attractive. Think Grant Morrison’s Invisibles, but in the age of Pizzagate and 8chan.

The Department of Truth #1 is an engaging debut issue with James Tynion tapping into the expansive worldbuilding of his previous titles like Memetic and its sequels while Martin Simmonds shows that painted art can have a few, new tricks up its sleeves in 2020. They also introduce some actually compelling mysteries and tap into our fearful zeitgeist where believers and spinners of harmful conspiracies have entirely too much power.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Martin Simmonds Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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